MANILA, Philippines — Marcus Douthit wants Gilas Pilipinas to be successful in this tournament as badly as any non-naturalized Filipino.
Biting pain in his calf muscle after getting kneed there? No problem.
“It hurts, but the game is more important,” said the 6-foot-11 center moments after Gilas Pilipinas finally put a blot on Qatar’s record with an 80-70 victory Tuesday night in the Fiba Asia Championship at Mall of Asia Arena.
Douthit was contesting a rebound late in the third period when one of Qatar’s big men got him on the calf muscle with a knee. He virtually hopped his way to the bench and got subbed, triggering mild concern about his health with the knockout phase and a showdown against China looming.
Trainers iced the affected muscle, just below his right knee, as Gilas Pilipinas tried to protect a 57-34 lead without their star big man.
But as the Qataris made a late run behind their own naturalized player, NBA-honed Jarvis Hayes, coach Chot Reyes was faced with a key decision.
“Qatar made a run,” said Reyes. “I had to put him back.”
Douthit will be reevaluated Wednesday morning but all indications point to him suiting up and getting a few minutes in the Philippines’ last preliminary game—against lowly Hong Kong.
Reyes wasn’t too keen on resting Douthit, saying that might affect his rhythm going into the quarterfinals.
“We practiced for this format, playing back-to-back games,” Reyes said.
Douthit himself said he is likely to get some minutes against Hong Kong.
“I played when it hurt the most,” he said. “It can’t possibly get any worse than today.”